Spinach and Spring Herb Torta Recipe

  • 3 large russet potatoes (about 600 g, 1 ¼ pound)
  • about 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 350 g spinach (about a colander full, stems removed if the leaves are big)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped spring herbs: parsley, chives, dill
  • 100 g feta, crumbled
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • salt, pepper

  1. Peel the potatoes. Slice two of them crosswise into rounds about 3-4 mm (1/8 inch) thick.
  2. Slice the third potato lengthwise, also 3-4 mm thick. Brush some olive oil in a wide skillet and set over high heat. Whet it’s hot, reduce the heat to medium and place a layer of potato slices in the skillet. Fry on both sides until golden and tender when when pierced with a knife. Remove to a paper towel and repeat with the rest of the potato slices.
  3. Add the spinach to the same pan with the water clinging to its leaves (or add a little water if dry). Cook until wilted and tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer the spinach to a sieve and press out any excess water. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and ricotta. Add herbs, feta and lemon zest.
  4. Roughly chop the spinach and add it to the mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Preheat oven to 185 degrees Celsius (375 F). Lightly butter a 24 cm (9 ½ inch) spring form pan. Line the bottom of the pan with the round potato slices, overlapping where necessary to cover the bottom completely. Place the long slices around the sides. Pour in the ricotta mixture and put in the oven. Bake until firm and golden in places, about 40 minutes. Gently ease a knife between he edge of the pan and the potatoes. Release the spring and carefully remove the sides of the pan, Serve warm or at room temperature.
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apple crostata AKA flat apple pie

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) very cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 2-3 tablespoons ice water
For the filling:
  • 1 1/2 pounds McIntosh, Macoun, or Empire apples (3 large) *see note on step 5
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
  1. For the pastry, place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse 12 to 15 times, or until the butter is the size of peas. Add the ice water and keep hitting the pulse button to combine, but stop the machine just before the dough becomes a solid mass.
  2. Turn the dough onto a well-floured board and form into a disk. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  4. Flour a rolling pin and roll the pastry into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer the pastry to a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  5. For the filling, peel, core, and cut the apples into 8ths. I actually cut my 1/8's in half because I wanted to make sure my apples cooked thoroughly. Cut each wedge into 3 chunks. *I like to use a mix of tart & sweet apples so I used 1 of each: Granny Smith, Fuji & Jonagold. It was perfect! Toss the apple chunks with the orange zest. You won't taste the orange zest at all, but it brightens the flavors of the apples.
  6. Cover the tart dough with the apple chunks leaving a 1 1/2-inch border.
  7. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and allspice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Pour into a bowl and rub it with your fingers until it starts holding together. Sprinkle evenly on the apples.
  8. Gently fold the border over the apples to enclose the dough, pleating it to make a circle.
  9. Bake the crostata for 30 to 40 minutes, until the crust is golden and the apples are tender. I had to cover the edges with foil for the last 10 minutes because they browned too quickly. Allow to cool.
  10. Serve warm or at room temperature with a little caramel sundae, dusted with cinnamon on the side.
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Honeyed Pears in Puff Pastry

  • 4 small pears
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 small lemon, halved
  • 3 cinnamon sticks (3 inches)
  • 6 to 8 whole cloves
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  1. Core pears from bottom, leaving stems intact. Peel pears; cut 1/4 in. from the bottom of each to level if necessary.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine the water, sugar, honey, lemon halves, cinnamon and cloves. Split vanilla bean and scrape seeds; add bean and seeds to sugar mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; place pears on their sides in saucepan and poach, uncovered, for 18-22 minutes or until pears are almost tender, basting occasionally with poaching liquid.
  3. Remove pears with a slotted spoon; cool slightly. Strain and reserve 1-1/2 cups poaching liquid; set aside.
  4. Unfold puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Cut into 1/2-in.-wide strips. Starting at the bottom of a pear, wrap a pastry strip around pear, adding additional strips until pear is completely wrapped in pastry. Repeat with remaining pears and puff pastry.
  5. Transfer to a parchment-lined 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Meanwhile bring reserved poaching liquid to a boil; cook until liquid is thick and syrupy, about 10-15 minutes. Place pears on dessert plates and drizzle with syrup.
  7. Serve warm. Yield: 4 servings.
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Ultimate Oreo Brownies

  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
  • Package of Peanut Butter Cups
  • Package of Oreo Double Stuff
  • Brownie Batter

  1. I made these in a 9"x13" pan lined with parchment or wax paper, layer cookie dough, Oreo cookies and peanut butter cups and top with brownie batter. I baked them at 350F for 40-50 minutes, until toothpick between Oreos came out clean, but the very middles were still gooey and uncooked.
  2. You can customize this any way you like by layering different types of cookie dough, candy bars, and brownie recipes. Go wild! Bake for less time than you think it will take, and just keep checking until everything looks like it's done! But remember, even undercooked brownies are still darn good brownies. Let them cool and use a serrated knife to make clean cuts.
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Peppermint Bark Rice Krispie Treats

  • 1 10.5 ounce bag peppermint mini marshmallows*
  • 4 tablespoons real butter, plus extra to butter pan
  • 5-6 cups rice krispie style cereal (I like mine a little more marshmallowy)
  • 3 tablespoons semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil, divided
  • a few drops (about 1/8 teaspoon) peppermint extract
  • 2-3 medium sized candycanes, crushed

  1. Line a 9×13 pan with foil and lightly butter bottom and about 1 inch up sides.
  2. Melt butter in a very large bowl in the microwave. Add marshmallows and stir to coat. Heat in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. (You can do that whole process on the stovetop as well.) Add rice krispie cereal and stir to evenly combine. With buttered hands, press mixture into prepared pan.
  3. Place white chocolate chips and 1/4 teaspoon oil in a small bowl. Heat in microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Repeat same process with semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips and add a few drops of peppermint extract. Drizzle both chocolates on top of rice krispie treats and sprinkle candy canes on top. Let sit until chocolate is set, place pan in fridge to speed process along. Cut into squares and eat up.
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